Mobile Apps a Fit for Rue La La

Oct 29, 2010 11:56 PM  By

Invitation-only e-commerce site Rue La La specializes in limited-time sales of discounted luxury clothing and accessories. The launch of mobile applications earlier this year helped the merchant’s mobile sales grow from 3% of overall sales to 10%, according to president-member marketing Stephanie Brocum.

Speaking Oct. 26 at the Mobile Shopping Summit in New York, Brocum said that Rue La La creates excitement daily by putting out limited-time sale announcements daily at 11 a.m. for discounted luxury goods. The mobile channel means Rue La La members don’t have to be tethered to a computer at that time to find out what the deal of the day is.

Founded in 2008, Rue La La started a mobile site, m.ruelala.com, in 2009—before it was sold to GSI commerce that October. The private-sale site included some of its pages optimized for iPhone usage.

But this past June, Rue La La launched apps for the iPad and the iPhone to give users of those mobile devices a fully functional Web experience. Brocum said the site went with the iPhone and iPad apps because its analytics showed they were the two most popular mobile browsers used to access Rue La La.

In developing the apps, the company looked at its membership base to determine what it could try to solve for the customer, why there was a need for an app, and what it could deliver to the customer through an app to justify the need.

Was it a mistake to cater only to iPhone users? “There was some Android backlash,” Brocum admitted. Rue La La’s users with Android devices “felt they were being discriminated against,” she said.

So Rue La La got to work on an Android app, and released it in September. Of the 10% of total sales coming from mobile, Brocum said the majority come from apps. The iPhone tops its list, followed by the iPad, Android and Blackberry in terms of sales by app.

The increased focus on mobile could push Rue La La’s mobile sales to 20% of its total business by the end of this year, Brocum said. What’s more, since the company had seen a trend of members buying while at work, the mobile app launch has helped its weekend sales figures rise.